Math Talk Monday – Money Talks

Good Monday Morning! It’s summer time and we teachers are just lounging around on the couch doing nothing. Oh, wait. We’re reading a bunch and planning curriculum for the next year. So to support planning efforts and to complete my own reflections, I will be posting something to do with math class on Monday Mornings. It could be a lesson, a whole project, or an insight I’ve had about teaching money to teenagers.

Today’s Project was called “Money Talks” and was the first project in a year long course I taught two years ago. Throughout August and September, students dove excitedly into the most basic but critical information of personal finance. The pictures show them presenting and defending their final budget to teachers, parents, and community members. In addition to giving students the important opportunity to learn about the real world, they need to have opportunities to share their learning. They need to have the chance to defend their choices and receive feedback from an authentic source. In the case of budgeting, any adult can be a sounding board, which is why I love this project. Students invited adults into our classroom and they showed them their financial goal sheets and budget worksheets. The adults gave advice and told their own stories about creating budgets. The learning was cyclical. This kind of presentation is my favorite to do because kids don’t realize that the learning continued right up until the end!

Money Talks

Driving Question: What do we do with our money?

Premise: Students learn about what to do with their money both in their current lives (some sophomores have started working and most juniors and seniors have a job) and in the future. They will learn about the accounts and services available at banks and research the best option for them (Financial Institutions). Then students will set specific goals both in the short and long term (Financial Goals). Finally, students will practice reading different statements – credit cards, utility bills, and pay stubs – before they choose a job they’d like to have one day (Financial Realities). The culmination of this project is for students to take the salary of this job, set up a budget, and present & defend this budget to an adult visitor.

Problem Statement:  How can we as aspiring young adults create a personal budget so that we can practice financial responsibility and decision making?

Target Age Group: grades 11 – 12

Time: 5 weeks



  • I can explain banking services.
  • I can differentiate between a savings and checking account.
  • I can read a bank statement.
  • I can write a personal check.
  • I can label the components of a personal check.
  • I can explain the difference between a debit and credit card.
  • I can list major items people must spend income on.
  • I can identify personal short term and long term financial goals.
  • I can make choices about what to buy (which plan or item is better?)
  • I can create and explain a budget.

Benchmarks & Tasks:

  1. Financial Institutions
    1. Learn to Write a Check
    2. Vocabulary Terms
    3. Workshop: Banking 101
    4. Collaborative Research about Local Banks
    5. VLOG – Where do you keep your money? After researching commercial banks and their services, record a personal video-log that explains what bank you choose for yourself. Give 3 examples or strong facts to illustrate why you made your choice.
  2. Financial Goals
    1. Vocabulary Terms
    2. What are financial Goals? Videos
      1. Setting Financial Goals in 5 Easy Steps
      2. Financial Goals
    3. Savers Vs. Spenders Article
    4. Your Financial Identity Survey
    5. Journal: Don’t Keep Up With the Joneses (Principle 24 from Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?)
    6. Goal Setting: After learning about setting financial goals, create a document that contains your personal financial goals.
  3. Financial Realities
    1. Reading a Variety of Financial Statements
    2. Vocabulary Terms
    3. Journal: Marry the Financially Right Person (Principle 1 from Why Didn’t They Teach Me This in School?)
    4. Select a Job & Research Salary
  4. Final Product
    1. Guest Speaker from local non profit that works with people create budgets
    2. Budget Following the 50/20/30 Rule
    3. Reflection: After creating a detailed budget, reflect on the process of creating a budget. Describe the budgeting process and how it is unique to you. Be sure to use examples from your own budget to support your answer.


Downloadable Materials:

  1. Banking 101 PPTX
  2. Bank Research Document
  3. Goal Setting Document
  4. Peer Review/Rubric for Goal Setting Task
  5. Budget Template
  6. Budget Presentations Directions


Share your thoughts!

%d bloggers like this: